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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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CNN

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03:00:00

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Israel 125, Us 33, Egypt 29, Jerusalem 28, U.s. 20, Hamas 15, Cnn 13, Iran 12, Ashkelon 12, United States 11, Washington 11, Tony Blair 8, Obama 7, Cairo 7, Cambodia 7, Gordon 6, Anderson Cooper 6, Southern Israel 6, Joe 5, Gaza City 5,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    November 19, 2012
    1:00 - 4:00pm PST  

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this is are easy and cheap. only way 70 to 100 pounds and fueled by commercial grade fertilizer. they're not very accurate. >> that's tom forman. i'll be on "a.c. 360" tonight for more live reports from here in gaza city. our extensive coverage continues right now with our wolf blitzer who's standing by in jerusalem. wolf? anderson, it's joe johns in washington, d.c., taking over. we'll be coming to wolf momentarily. happening now, running for cover and an israeli city under fire. across the border in gaza, wails of grief and characterize for revenge. and from afar, the president of the united states works the phone, pushing everyone to find a way to stop the killing. wolf blitzer is in jerusalem. i'm joe johns. you're in t"the situation room."
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we're live in jerusalem right now at the end of a sixth day of intense rocket fire directed at israel from hamas-controlled gaza, as well as militants and their supplies. israeli officials say three people are dead, 68 people have been wounded. officials put the gaza death toll at 104 with 860 people wounded. all the while world diplomats constantly are looking for some way to broker a cease-fire. in a little bit, you're going to hear my conversation with one of top negotiators attempting to achieve a cease-fire, the former
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british prime minister, tony blair. he's here in jerusalem. i spoke with him today. you're going to hear the interview. that's coming up later. we'll also hear from our cnn correspondents across israel as well as in gaza right now. earlier in the day, i went to orbkalon where i saw what was going on firsthand on the israeli side of the border. as soon as we got there, the sirens actually started going on. you could see people running towards shelters. i started running after israeli soldiers demanded that all of us -- our cnn crew, myself, we get to a shelter. usually they have about 30 seconds once the sirens go off before there actually is a rocket or missile that reaches the ground. in this particular case, when we were running, we got to a shelter. it was packed with soldiers, with civilians. and then we finally heard that thud. in this particular case, that iron dome, the israeli anti-missile defense shield,
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which has been financed at least in some measure by the united states, it worked. and the incoming rokts and missiles were destroyed in the air. later we walked outside and saw that plume of smoke showing those missiles, the rockets had been destroyed. earlier in the day at that same school where we had been -- the iron dome didn't work successfully. and that rocket hit the ground. there was some damage there. no casualties on that particular road. we spent some quality time watching what was going on. and it was a significant situation. on both sides of the border, people are living and dying. there is intense, intense pain in gaza as well as in israel. joining us now on the phone is a chief palestinian negotiator. he's joining us from the west bank. thanks very much for joining us. i know you're watching very closely what's going on. is there -- you sense that the parties are any closer to a cease-fire? >> well, i hope so.
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i think there's an interest for all parties to have a cease-fire. actually we were monday in cairo and they agreed on a cease-fire, and the israeli government surprised us. and then -- i hope this will be an eye-opener for mr. netanyahu. i hope that he will get one lesson. the lesson is that security will only be achieved through peace, through the two-step solution. security will not be achieved through bombing and wars and war-mongering. we need to reach this conclusion and we need now to support everything offered by the egyptians in order to get a
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comprehensive cease-fire. that's what we're working on. he's fully engaged with all palestinian actions, including hamas, and is fully on board to achieve a blanket comprehensive cease-fire because that's what will help all concerned, palestinians, israelis, and americans. >> i know one of the issues the israelis are demanding in the israeli cabinet, i'm told is meeting right now, even as we speak, the so-called international security cabinet, the prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, one of the things they want to make sure is that even if there's a cease-fire, the shelling into israel, some of these rockets and missiles don't resume two weeks from now or four weeks from now or whatever. how do you ensure that once there's a cease-fire, it holds? >> well, i think, wolf, number one is we have to focus now in achieving a cease-fire.
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the egyptians are on board. the europeans are on board. the americans are on board. the turks aren board. everyone is on board. now, if israel commits to have a cease-fire, comprehensive, not to attack, then there will be guarantees from all parties involved in this. but i think we have a fire now. we have a fire, the first thing we should do is bring the children outside the building, extinguish the fire. and once we extinguish the fire, we can look at it the day after. at this moment, i think every possible effort should be exerted in order to reach a comprehensive cease-fire. it was said today that hamas is willing to engage in a full comprehensive cease-fire. the egyptians are -- i think there's a good chance to achieve this and all demands from all parties, everybody who has demands --
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>> i know that the former british prime minister, tony blair, met with president mahmoud abbas, the prime minister of the palestinian authority, today. i spoke with tony blair later. here's the question. it's a fundamental question. does hamas control all of gaza because there's some speculation that there's islamic jihad even more radical groups that wouldn't necessarily honor a cease-fire. >> i spoke to to the little jihad -- tomorrow, they're saying that ban ki-moon is in touch with president morsi. gaza is the most densely populated area.
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more than 750 wounded. if the israeli government is thinking about a land invasion, that will mean human disaster. and that will not ensure anybody's security. we all know that this will just push the whole region, not only us and the israelis, the whole region, in the back of conflict, bloodshed and violence and extremism. the most important thing is that israel commits to stop the attack. and everybody in gaza will be committed because egypt is brokering this. the egyptians can do that. and they're the only ones who can do that, actually. >> what is your assessment of the u.s. role in all of this? do you believe the president, president obama, is doing enough to try to achieve a cease-fire?
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>> i'm sure he is. i'm sure he's engaged with the egyptians and the turks, with the europeans, engaged with us. but the key here is -- i think the egyptians -- i spoke to some of their officials this afternoon, they are exerting every possible effort there is in order to reach a comprehensive cease-fire. i think they can achieve it. provide the guarantees for all sides. >> is the palestinian authority -- what i'm hearing, i think the answer is yes. but you tell me. is the palestinian authority -- you're associated with the president, mahmoud abbas, on the same page right now with hamas in gaza? >> look, today, we are not the authority. we are all palestinians, wolf. it is our people.
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we know we want to reach peace. that's our ticket to security and peace. unfortunately, we have been unable for 20 years to achieve this goal. today what we need to focus on is to reach a cease-fire, what we need to focus on is to stop this. failure should not be an option. and i think we can do it tonight. the egyptians are determined and they can do it and they can deliver. let's focus on one thing now -- to have a cease-fire. >> saeb, let's hope there will be peace negotiations soon. saeb, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> saeb, the palestinian peace
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negotiator. on both sides of the border, people are living and dying among the explosions. arwa dame season is in gaza. tell our viewers what you've seen today. >> reporter: throughout the day, we were seeing on different occasions rockets being fired from here towards israel. there were also a number of air strikes and other attacks that did take place. there's a building behind me that's about 15 stories tall. we saw it being hit by three missiles. it would seem that the target was the head of the media office of the military wing of islamic jihad. he was killed, we're later told, by palestinian sources. another man also killed in that attack as well. seemingly he died of a heart attack. he was a christian. also in that attack, two children were wounded, wolf. and we do keep seeing, again, the civilians bearing the brunt of this conflict.
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a lot of women and children have, of course, been killed, been wounded as well. so far on this side of the border, more than 100 people have been killed. and right now, the streets are completely deserted, as they have been from the moment that darkness fell. people are just too afraid to go outside. and there's the constant buzz of drones overhead. just a short while ago, we also heard another explosion, wolf. >> is there any season that from your vantage point, arwa, in gaza, speaking to people associated with hamas, that we're any closer to a cease-fire? >> reporter: they say that negotiations are under way. they do have a list of demands that they do want to see materialized. and obviously at the top of that list is an end to the violence and having the siege on gaza to be lifted. it was hard to fathom a scenario where that would actually happen. and that is, of course, the great crux of this conflict, is
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that both sides are so polarized, so hardened in their demands. it's hard to see which side is going to budge first. when it comes to the population, a lot of them do say on the one hand, especially when you speak to people at funerals on the sites after these attacks have taken place, they say that they do want revenge. but at the same time when you speak to them in the market, in their homes, where people are really huddling together, trying to stay safe, they say that they really want peace. for decades, people here in gaza have been going through this ongoing cycle of violence, of fear, living a life that has really very little dignity to it. many of them say that they feel as if they live in a massive prison. and all they really want to see is an end to all of this, a longlasting agreement that would result in them and their children being able to have the semblance of a normal life, wolf? >> and finally, do they say that
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as a result of a cease-fire they will flatly stop shelling -- israel will stop sending rockets, missiles into israel and won't allow additional weapons to start coming in or are they leaving that open? >> reporter: well, that's another of the sticking points, of course, the israelis are wanting to set up something of a buffer zone inside gaza. they do want to see the weapons stop coming in. they do not want to create a scenario where hamas is going to somehow be able to regain the capability to rearm itself or even further arm itself at this stage. but, again, as we have heard every single time the conflict between these two populations escalates to the point where it's at, there are pledges, there are statements that are made. and then invariably one side violates the cease-fire. and every single time, each side continues to blame the other. that's why it is so critical to have the sort of solution in
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place that can longlasting. but that's something that both of these sides, the international community has struggled to make a reality, again, for decades now. >> decades indeed. arwa, we'll check back with you. arwa damon is in gaza for us. anderson cooper is in gaza as well. so is ben wedeman. we're standing by. the israeli cabinet is meeting, considering a cease-fire proposal. as soon as that cabinet meeting breaks up here in jerusalem, we'll have the latest on what the decision is. we're also about to get the israeli military's response to the civilian deaths in gaza. latest efforts to stop the rocket attacks coming into israel from gaza. i'll be joined by a spokeswoman from the israeli army. that's coming up next. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see?
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colonel spokeswoman for the israeli defense services. thanks very much for coming in. how serious is the possibility of a ground invasion by the idf, israel defense force, into gaza? >> currently a ground operation is still an option, although we haven't decided to go with this option. the forces are ready outside of gaza and should the order be given, we are ready to go inside. >> and you would go in with tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy weaponry in a densely populated area like gaza? >> various types of units. we are very familiar with the type of -- the densely populated areas with the urban warfare. we've been busy developing different kinds of methods of precise munitions in order to stay away and refrain from targeting civilians, of course. >> and you don't think you could achieve your military objectives through air power or sea power? you think ultimately you might have to go in on the ground? >> let's look at today. today, 160 rockets were launched from gaza into israel.
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that was not a quiet day. and although the arsenal of the rockets is going down and has suffered a very severe blow, still we're still getting rockets. therefore, the goal of the operation is still to continue and defend the people of israel and also to target those terror organizations. >> the israeli cabinet is meeting right now, supposedly considering a cease-fire proposal that's come via the egyptians. what can you tell us about that? >> nothing right now. we are waiting for the orders from the political echelon. but the operation is still continuing, as far as we are concerned. for example, we targeted a couple of hours ago a stadium. it was an open soccer stadium. but also one that hosted launchers, launchers of ojer 5 underground -- >> these are the ones that threaten tel aviv and jerusalem. but i was under the impression almost all of them had been destroyed already?
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>> it's true. but still they have some rockets of this type. we see that they have difficulties to launch them nowadays and therefore they still use the grads, which was approximately 40 kilometers. >> what is your estimate? how many more of these missiles and rockets do they have in gaza? >> they probably have thousands, even more. >> thousands? >> there are 400 smuggling tunnels between gaza and the egyptian rafa. and these tunnels conveyed all sorts of munition, 24/7. the money for using those tunnels go to hamas. in addition, gaza has become the back yard of many african countries the past two years. the smuggling routes in the deserts are very convenient and there's no limit to the types of rockets that can enter gaza. >> this could go on for a long time, if it was a ground invasion. israel occupied gaza once before, did not have necessarily a wonderful experience. this could be a disaster if you go back in there.
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>> nobody's looking for occupation. we're looking to practice the basic right that israel has like any other country in the world. we want to have a rocket-free country. we want to have 3 million israelis, which is approximately 50% of the population, sleep quietly in their own beds rather than in shelters. >> we in the united states, whenever there's a military operation because there have been some bad experiences, when troops go in, they want to know what the exit strategy is. what would be israel's exit strategy from gaza if you send in tens of thousands of ground forces? >> well, when we organize such an operation, we usually have an assessment a few times a day. then we plan our next steps. it's going to be hard for me to predict an end result. of course, our hope is the rockets fire will stop, the terror organizations will lose a large portion of their arsenal. but this is currently the situation. now, i cannot predict for -- >> but if israel withdraws quickly, they could rebuild that
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arsenal, hamas, pretty quickly f you go in, clean it out and then leave, what's to stop them from doing it all over again? >> we all prefer diplomacy than military action. and hopefully the diplomatic moves that are happening now maybe will change something. >> are there rockets coming into israel from sinai, egypt, as well? >> currently no. >> there have been a few. >> there have been a few incidents lately in which some groups maybe in the sinai desert tried to target israeli targets. they were remote. but still we're concerned about this phenomenon. >> what about egypt's -- israel's relationship with egypt right now? there's still a formal relationship but i take it it's not that good. >> well, egypt is not our enemy. gaza and hamas inside gaza is our enemy. we tend to keep the peace treaty with egypt and respect that peace treaty. >> what about syria? there have been some incidents
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of fire coming into the israeli part of the golan heights from syria. what's the latest on that? >> our estimation is all the remotes events have to do with stray bullets or stray mortars. nothing more than that. it's an internal conflict inside syria. and that's the way we treat it. >> is it a serious situation on the golan heights right now with syria or is it a temporary thing? >> it's a temporary thing. the borders are quiet. we see it as an internal syrian conflict which has nothing to do with us. >> and you're on the lebanese border with hezbollah, that's quiet as well? >> it's quiet but tense. hezbollah has acquired a huge arsenal of over 60,000 rockets and tried to think how many other militaries in the world even hold these amount of rockets. a speech was given today urging all the arab countries to smuggle rockets into gaza so hamas can use them. >> one final question, iran. what if any role are they playing in all of this?
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>> iran is, i would say, pulling the strings in many of the terror organizations in the region. hezbollah is one of them, hamas is another. they all go way back to iran. >> lieutenant colonel, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. we're going to continue to watch what's going on. you have a direct stake in this latest conflict in the middle east as well. we'll prepare you for what you'll see the next time you pull up to the gas pump. stand by for that. our crews also have dramatic new video of the devastation caused by israeli air strikes in gaza. time to market reduced... those are good things. upstairs, they will see fantasy. not fantasy... logistics. ups came in, analyzed our supply chain, inventory systems... ups? ups. not fantasy? who would have thought? i did. we did, bob. we did. got it.
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wolf blitzer is in jerusalem and we'll get back to him live
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in just a moment. but violence in the middle east is pushing oil prices up. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the windchill windchill right now. >> a lot of people are interested in this story. oil prices rose another $2 a barrel today to $89 a barrel. crude prices are up about 4% since fighting e ript ruptured between the israelis and hamas last week. neither is a major producer of oil but investors are worried tensions could spill over into other parts of the middle east. and a cease-fire announced against government forces in colombia. the revolutionary armed forces of colombia say they will halt their attacks. it's meant as a goodwill gesture but it's unlikely the government will resip -- reciprocate. paul otellini has been president for eight years.
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he's moving on. no successor has been named yet. but intel's board called otellini a strong leader who's led the company through challenging times and market transitions. >> thanks so much for that, lisa. we're going to throw it back to wolf blitzer in jerusalem now. wolf? >> joe, thanks very much. we're watching what's going on here in jerusalem as i've been pointing out, the israeli cabinet is meeting right now. we're expecting them to wrap up whatever they're deciding. we're told they're considering a cease-fire proposal that's come to them from the egyptians. as soon as we know what's going on, we'll of course share the breaking news with our viewers. we have a lot more to show you on both sides. they're suffering on the ground and behind the scenes, there are urgent talks to stop the shooting and the killing. much more of the breaking news from jerusalem when we come back. so now i can be in the scene.
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the former british prime minister is working behind the scenes. he's trying to help broker a cease-fire between the israelis and hamas in gaza. i spoke with tony blair here in jerusalem a little while ago. that interview coming up here in "the situation room." these are bleak days for palestinians in gaza, to be sure. every air strike brings potential death w little or no warning. all of this in a place where life was a struggle to begin with. cnn's arwa damon once again joining us with more on what the gazans are enduring. pretty painful from what you're seeing and what from i'm hearing from you. >> reporter: it most certainly is. so far, more than 100 people have been killed on this side of the conflict. and tragically we have seen a lot of women and children among the casualties as well. and here on this side of the border, there are no sirens. oftentimes, these strikes come with little warning.
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the large slap of concrete and mangled metal finally gives way. buried beneath it, another lifeless body. it's the second child we've seen. there was also a baby. others in the neighborhood say the blast killed all ten people who lived here. israel says it was targeting the head of a hamas rocket launching unit. people we spoke with said they never heard of him. this was a family home. people here are telling us so far people who have been killed in this strike are women and children. they have not been able to find any survivors. just moments ago from that back corner, they pulled out the body of a tiny child. over here, there's another frantic effort under way. tempers easily flare as frustration and anger mount.
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she's my uncle's wife, this young man shouts. rage, coupled with sorrow, etched across his face. this is where she lived. her elderly body finally dug up and carried away. there are no air raid sirens or bunkers in gaza. this strike came with no warning. the rescue efforts are not always so hopeless. not far from here, just the day before, this 11-month-old and his 4-year-old sister both survived a multiple missile strike on their home. when the roof collapsed it somehow formed a prevent arch over us, the children's mother says. for about 45 minutes, i thought i was going to suffocate. my leg was stuck. people could hear me screaming but they couldn't do anything, she tells us.
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in between her characterize, fears that her children were dead. this is what the building looks like now, the rubble that was cleared to save the family of ten piled back into the lot that was their home. i will never forget what happened, she says. i will die imagining it. i can't believe it, i can't believe these are my children. i tell myself, they are not my children. i can't imagine how they survived. i feel like i'm not myself. i can't believe that i am alive, talking to you, breathing. she tells us she wants revenge. but more than that, she wants peace. she says, there is no good that comes with war. and, wolf, that is really the sentiment that we are hearing from so many people that they have been speaking to. however, that being said, when the funeral took place for that
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family that had been killed in the air strike at the beginning of that story, we did see rockets while the funeral was taking place. it would seem being fired from gaza towards israel. our colleague, ben wedeman, was at the funeral and he said that when that happened, people began chanting "revenge, revenge." and once again, we see the scenario where the longer the killing goes on, the more hardened these two sides become towards one another. >> arwa damon in gaza for us, we'll get back to you shortly. stand by. things got testy over at the state department in washington today when reporters pressed for details on how the u.s. is trying to stop the fighting between israel and hamas in gaza. let's bring in our foreign affairs correspondent, jill doherty, she's in washington. jill, exactly what is the obama administration doing right now? >> reporter: well, they're on the phone, wolf. the president is in asia. he is making telephone calls and practically every senior administration person is doing
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the same thing. president obama calling israel, prime minister netanyahu, and egypt three times to president morsi. and president clinton calling the egyptians three times. i looked at the list, egypt, turkey, qatar, the french, ban ki-moon. and the whole entire is to press any country with any influence on either side but especially with the palestinians with gaza to put the pressure on them to stop the fighting. >> egypt is clearly a key player. they have influence with hamas. what's the u.s. doing in its talks with the egyptian government? >> reporter: again, they're putting as much pressure on them as they can. and there is some pressure because after all, the united states gives egypt about $450 million every year. so here's one expert that we talked to.
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this is how he explained how the egyptians can use their influence. >> egypt is the key to brokering a cease-fire. it's brokered cease-fires between hamas and israel in the past. and it will be the key to brokering the current cease-fire agreement between israel and hamas to end this round of fighting. egypt doesn't want chaos on its borders. >> reporter: but they have a balancing act, wolf. and you know that. of course, they don't want any economic problems and that means they need the help of the united states and the international community. but people in egypt have a lot of sympathy for hamas. >> they certainly do. and elsewhere in the arab world as well. thanks very much, jill dougherty, in washington. right now, here in israel, you can look up in the sky, you can see what's going on. you see a new defense system literally knocking out incoming rockets. we have a closer look at what they call the iron dome. i love the holidays.
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president obama is keeping tabs on the crisis in the middle east while he's on an historic trip. the president is in cambodia but made a stop earlier in myanmar. it's a nation that emerged from bloody dictatorship and is now finding its way forward in the modern world. cnn's jessica yellin is traveling with the president. >> reporter: according to the white house, secretary of state clinton and the president's top national security adviser, both of whom are on this trip, are in regular contact with their counterparts in the middle east, trying to deescalate tensions in
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the region. meanwhile, the president is focused on his work here on this trip in asia, strengthening and building u.s. alliances in the pacific. it was in thailand, the president gave his first public remarks on the violence in israel and gaza, standing by israel. >> there's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. so we are fully supportive of israel's right to defend itself. >> reporter: and he put the onus on hamas to make peace possible. it starts with no more missiles being fired into israel's territory. >> reporter: but that's not the focus of this trip. less than two weeks after his reelection, he jetted halfway around the world to southeast asia. president obama says -- >> this is no accident. >> reporter: the trip is meant to strengthen trade and security alliances and counterbalance
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china's growing influence. the dramatic highlight? a visit to myanmar, a country long under military rule, now undergoing a democratic transition. in a speech encouraging the nation's reforms, he used his own identity as proof it takes time for full democracy to take hold. >> i stand before you today as president of the most powerful nation on earth, but recognizing that once the color of my skin would have denied me the right to vote. and so that should give you some sense that if our country can transcend its differences, then yours can, too. >> reporter: and the president made a symbolic visit to the home of former political prisoner and democracy icon aung san suu kyi. >> i would like to say how happy
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i am to receive president obama in my country and in my house. >> reporter: with him, secretary of state hillary clinton. he said, this is their last official trip together as she plans to leave the state department. >> i could not be more grateful, not only for your service, hillary, but also for the powerful message that you and a aung san suu kyi send. >> reporter: in cambodia, president obama was there for two summits on the focus of trade. very early tuesday morning, cambodia time, president obama spoke with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu and got an update on the situation. he also called egypt's president morsi and according to the white house n that call, the president discussed with morsi the importance of getting hamas to stop firing rockets into israel. the president has publicly said he believes this is essential for stability and to get a piece
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in process. from here, the president will have a partial day of summits in cambodia, mostly focused on trade issues, before flying home in time for thanksgiving. joe? >> that's jessica yellin reporting. now we're going to continue the special edition of "the situation room" with wolf blitzer who is in jerusalem. wolf? >> joe, thanks very much. thank jessica as well. i know the president has his hands full on all the ash of related issues. he halasz has a crisis here in the middle east with huge ramifications for the united states, indeed for the entire world. we're watching an israeli cabinet meeting that's continuing even as we speak. right now, the prime minister of israel meeting with his national security advisers, considering a cease-fire proposal forwarded by egypt. we're watching what's going on. the stake right now clearly enormous. when we come back, our own fred pleitgen is on the ground, in
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even as the diplomats are trying to achieve a cease-fire, the israelis and hamas in gaza, they are still continuing their battle. israel has a major advantage right now, an advantage called iron dome. that's a missile defense system capable of knocking out militant rockets coming out of the sky before they get anything on the ground. cnn's fred pleitgen explains how iron dome works. >> reporter: a kill that possibly saved lives on the ground. this video shows an iron dome missile intercepting a rocket
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fired from gaza at tel aviv on sunday. the defense system had just been installed in israel's largest city a few hours earlier. several days into the conflict, it's already clear the iron dome is having a big impact picking off hundreds of rockets. i got a tour of the israel aircraft industry's plant that assembles the air defense system. >> deploying them is a matter of minutes. >> reporter: this doctor is one of those in charge. one key element is an advanced radar. >> the radar searches, locates, tracks, intercepts and guides the intercepting missiles within several seconds, few seconds within the launching time. >> reporter: it's extremely hard to shoot down short-distance rockets like the ones coming out of gaza, in part because they're not in the air long enough for older radar systems to lock onto them. >> the target is moving extremely fast. when you want to intercept it,
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you have to work -- you have to move faster, with more agility, with more maneuvering power relative to your target. >> reporter: the iron dome was only put into service in 2011, with breakthroughs in technology, it can detect and shoot down multiple targets in midair. but it isn't a perfect solution. this is the aftermath of a rocket strike in the town of ashkelon. one of the rocket that is hit ashkelon hit this carport and did substantial damage to the car as well. as hits like this one show, the iron dome cannot intercept all the rockets coming at israel from gaza. still israel's military says it's very happy with the performance of the interceptor system. >> rockets we want to doan down, we usually down. usually these rockets, exactly the ones sent, launched from the terrorist factions towards bigger cities where you have more people living, we usually down them. but it's not a 100% solution,
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unfortunately. >> reporter: and so the engineers at the assembly plant are working extra hours to assemble more iron dome batteries for immediate deployment. fred pleitgen, cnn, ashkelon, israel. at the top of the hour, our own anderson cooper will join us live from gaza with more on ordinary people's lives amid the growing destruction. also coming up, my interview with the top middle east negotiator, the former british prime minister, tony blair. ...and now... you! [ giggles ] ♪ the one and only, cheerios cool. you found it. wow. nice place. yeah. [ chuckles ] the family thinks i'm out shipping these. smooth move. you used priority mail flat rate boxes. if it fits, it ships for a low, flat rate. paid for postage online and arranged a free pickup. and i'm gonna track them online, too.
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in kazakhstan, russian astronauts are greeted by a fleet of helicopters after the landing of a spacecraft.
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in xwam cambodia, president obama and hillary clinton are greeted after landing at the international airport. in india, dance students from mexico performed during an international cultural exchange program. and also in india, they stand in chest-high water and pray during a religious ceremony. hot shot, pictures coming in from around the world. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, deadly new israeli missile strikes in gaza, cnn's anderson cooper standing by to join us live this hour. also, we're tracing iran's complicated missile and training pipeline to hamas in gaza. and could former president bill clinton help stop the fighting here in the middle east? i'll talk about that and more with the former british prime minister, the middle east special peace enjoy, tony blair. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room."
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we're coming to you live from jerusalem where there seems to be at least for now no end in sight to the fighting that's been going on between the israelis and hamas in gaza. today, sirens warned of more rockets from gaza coming into israel, sending terrified residents fleeing for safety, seeking refuge in bomb shelters. israeli officials say three people have died, 68 people have been wounded here in israel as the result of hamas rockets and missiles and the fear is just as deep in gaza as israeli missiles struck for a sixth consecutive day. among the latest targets, office buildings used by some media outlets in gaza, according to
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palestinian sources. at least two people died in that attack, pushing the palestinian death toll righ now to at least 104 with more than 800 injured since the fighting started. let's start our coverage this hour in gaza. anderson cooper is standing by with more. anderson, tell our viewers what you're seeing and hearing. >> reporter: wolf, we haven't heard too many explosions over the last hour or two as darkness has come here in gaza city. traditionally, a few hours from now, around 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. is when we really start to hear the most number of explosions, strikes by israeli forces here in gaza city. we heard that certainly last night around that same time. so we're going to be obviously up all evening long watching to see what happens. but throughout the day, there have been a number of explosions, outgoing rockets being fired from gaza city toward israel and of course
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incoming ordinates from israel. most notably an attack on the media center building which was hit on sunday as well. on sunday israeli forces said that they had targeted a hamas antenna on one of those buildings. today three rockets slammed into the building. it's about four blocks from our location right now. we actually saw two of the rockets going into the second floor of the building. israeli forces say they were targeting members of islamic jihad who they said were inside the building at the time. they said they killed one member of islamic jihad. also confirmed that with palestinian sources here on the ground. one official from islamic jihad, which the u.s. and israel considers a terrorist group. want to bring in our arwa damon who has also witnessed the attack. that was significant. it was the second day in a row that that building had been targeted, one islamic jihad official killed. >> reporter: yeah, most certainly was.
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this is part of this ongoing expansion campaign that we have been seeing on the part of the israelis where initially when this all began, they were really targeting what they were identifying as being the launch sites, where the missiles were going from gaza into israel. and we saw where they targeted government buildings and yesterday and today, targeting a building that houses one of the tv stations that is affiliated with hamas and this islamic jihad official as well. but that was a building where, at least as of yesterday, there was a lot of media there. western medias were operating out of it as well. a lot of them have evacuated today. but many people here look at the fact that that building was struck two days in a row and they find it to be a concerning development. >> reporter: on sunday, israel gave advanced warning to journalists in the building to evacuate, that it was a building that would be on a target list and a large number of journalists left the building. but others went back inside. and israel says they were targeting a hamas antenna. but today the strike was clearly on lower floors and clearly seem
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to, according to israel, hit their target in the killing of that one official. we do see continued rocket fire through israel and we've seen it throughout the day. >> reporter: fair amount more of rocket fire today than yesterday. you see the response coming in from the other side. the number of the strikes that we saw today, according to hospital officials were, again, targeting these small lots that exist. but they're very tiny in between the buildings here -- very narrow alleyways with israel trying to eliminate hamas' and the other groups' capabilities from being able to fire back. we spoke to residents who live in these areas who say oftentimes they are the ones that end up bearing the brunt of this ongoing back and forth. many people we're talking to say that at this point, the strikes could happen in any neighborhood, at any point in time. and they really don't know what to do or where to go to actually stay safe. >> reporter: unlike in the
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regions on the israeli side of the border, there aren't air raid warning sirens here. the om incidence sense you get, you occasionally maybe hear something incoming. but you don't know where it's going to be until the impact. and you look around to figure out where it was. you were at the scene yesterday of one of the most controversial strikes. israeli defense forces sitting what they said was a building owned by a hamas official who was head of a rocket unit. initially they said they had killed that hamas commander. they then backtracked saying they couldn't confirm whether or not he was alive or dead, at least ten member, though, of a family were known killed. you were there on the scene as some of the bodies were being pulled out. >> we were. and there was so much anger, so much frustration, so much sorrow etched across the faces of so many people who were there. one young man came in shouting, that's my aunt, that's my aunt. and rescue workers are trying to
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dig up the body of an elderly woman trapped there. we saw them lifting a sizable slab of concrete up. that was where they actually found the bodies of two of the children there. and for many of the residents living here, they believe that if the israelis truly knew that this commander was there, they would not have struck the house. they believe that the israelis are actually trying to punish the population here for whatever reason it is. and that is one of the many reasons for this rising anger because all of the people who we spoke to there at the time said that there had been no activity in that area, meaning no missiles were being fired from that area. and at the same time, after the israelis identified the individual who they said they were initially targeting, the head of this hamas missile-launching unit, people we spoke to said they never actually heard of this individual. and they simply believe that they keep on paying the heaviest price and this is israel's way of punishing the population.
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>> reporter: israel says they believe he was there or possibly storing weapons or rocket there is at the house and that israel acknowledges this family was killed and said it was very unfortunate that they were in the house at the time. our coverage here, wolf, will be going on all evening long. a lot more to report from this region and we have correspondent, as you know, all throughout the region in egypt as well as in israel on the border. we'll be hearing from them. wolf? >> anderson, arwa, thanks very much. we'll be checking back with you frequently. want to bring in our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, right now. she's getting new information about a possible ground war. barbara, what are you picking up? >> reporter: wolf, i'm standing outside the israeli embassy, just come from a closed-door briefing. ambassador michael oren, the israeli ambassador to the united states, says all of the pan planning is done now for any possible ground action. they are ready to go in israel. the israeli armed forces, the
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u.s. has been briefed about it. if it comes to it, they are now done with the planning and completely ready to go. but ambassador oren does very importantly go on to say, and i quote, we would like to avoid ground action. oren saying they still want to get some sort of solution to all of this, get hamas to agree to stop firing those rockets. if it doesn't happen, though, they are ready to go now, wolf. >> barbara, where do the israelis think the weapons are coming from, the weapons in gaza, the rockets, the missiles? >> reporter: well, this is a very important question, of course, because now hamas is firing in large groups, 15 rockets at a time, up to that many. iran has been a longstanding source of weaponry. but what we have now just been told is the weapons are also coming in from libya. since gadhafi fell, of course, very little government control in libya over those weapons.
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and a lot of smuggling, a lot of loose weapons floating around, now those are coming from libya into gaza. in addition, we are told hamas has some new firing techniques. they are burying the rockets in shafts underground, covering them with sand and then firing. so it's all very dispersed across gaza. the old days of hamas storage bunkers, we're told, are long gone. dispersed weapons, the israelis have to pick them out one by one with their overhead surveillance and try and strike them, they say, with no civilian casualties likely. but this is now a key reason why it's going to be very tough on israel in the days ahead, wolf. >> what are you hearing about u.s. military personnel currently in israel? >> reporter: well, quite surprisingly, we did not think this was the case. but the israelis now confirm, they say there are a couple of dozen u.s. troops still in israel. they were there for part of a
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military training exercise with the israelis. that was very well known. everyone pretty much thought they were all out. but, no, in the last few days now, the israelis have moved those u.s. troops from an air base in southern israel where they were in firing range of hamas rockets and they've moved them to a more secure location in central israel that is now under that iron dome of israel's air defense system we've all talked about so much. they're hoping to get them out and get them back to their bases in europe in the next few days, wolf. >> barbara starr outside the israeli embassy in washington with that information, thank you. we've seen a ground invasion of gaza before. this one if it happens could be very, very different. we'll take a look at some of the scenarios. and as rockets rain down on israel from gaza, we're tracing what some call a pipeline, funneling weapons of training to hamas from iran. maybe new buildings?
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a massive mobilization of israeli troops, tens of thousands of soldiers massing near the gaza border right now. the world is watching very, very closely what's going on as the pieces of a possible, repeat possible ground war unfold. an actual operation, though, could be very, very complicated. a lot of people are watching what that operation could be like. our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is watching as well. he's been speaking to experts. what are you seeing about a possible ground invasion of gaza? what would that be like, chris? >> reporter: wolf, if it does happen, what we're hearing is it would be one of two options. either, a, a full-scale ground assault involving tanks, airborne, something like what happened four years ago, if not bigger. the other option is a limited series of incursions by special operations forces and small groups of infantry with a very
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narrow objective, like such as taking out specific rocket-launching sites that the air assault wasn't able to get to. if israeli defense forces invade gaza, they'd likely go under the cover of darkness. >> where they have a tactical advantage on the battlefield through night vision equipment and the ability to operate in the dark. >> reporter: but they'd likely find hamas better armed than it was four years ago. >> we have better anti-tank weapons, for sure. and they might be more capability of inflicting damage on israeli forces. >> reporter: analyst jeff white says hamas' first line of defense will be a kilometer or two inside the border fence. they would try to draw the idf into kill zones of ieds, snipers and preset mortar fire. but the israelis beat that tactic with better intel four years ago and now have new
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capabilities. >> they've developed cameras that they can actually roll or throw into a house that shows them what's going on inside the house. >> reporter: a former israeli general says israel is running out of targets outside of population centers while hamas leaders have holed up inside mosques or among civilians. a ground war could lead to a situation similar to 2009 when a u.n. report accused israel of committing war crimes in gaza. >> that is weighing on the minds of israeli policymakers now as they consider whether to go into gaza on the ground. >> reporter: and there's also the smaller risk of casualties among the israel defense forces. if idf troops are kidnapped or even killed, that could cause a public backlash against prime minister netanyahu. and that's something he has to consider heading into an election, wolf. >> end of january, the israeli
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elections are scheduled. thanks very much, chris lawrence. about 1,000 rockets have been fired at israel since this conflict began some six days ago. about 300 of those rockets are said by israeli forces to have been intercepted by what's called the iron dome anti-missile defense system. more than 600, though, have reached israel, have hit targets. and they forced israelis to scramble for cover. >> it's a safe room. it has thickened walls. more or less blast-resistant. it's got metal windows and a metal door. and this is where the children are going to be sleeping tonight. >> cnn's fred pleitgen is in ashkelon, israel, right now near the gaza border with more on what's going on. looks like that iron dome the israelis have built to defend population centers, by all
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accounts, seems to be working rather well, fred. >> reporter: it certainly is working rather well, wolf. one of the things we have to keep in mind when we hear those numbers of 1,000 rockets fired from gaza, only about 300 intercepted is that the iron dome is really an intelligent system. what it does is it only takes out rockets that are actually flying towards population centers. so if the computer determine that is a rocket is actually headed for a field or some other unpopulated area, it won't even attack that target. it will just let it drop. the israeli defense forces tell us that they can take out about 90% of the rockets that are aimed at population centers but nevertheless, of course, this is not a 100% solution. they say that one of the last things people should do is not heed the warnings that are going out there. when the air sirens go, they tell them, you have to take cover immediately. and certainly from what we're seeing, that is actually what people are doing. nevertheless, there's no doubt that the iron dome with the way that it operates -- and i have
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seen it in action combatting multiple targets, about 200 yards over our heads -- is something that seems to be very, very efficient, wolf. >> when i was in ashkelon earlier in the day and those sirens went off, everyone just rushed to a shelter. the military there insisting that everyone get inside as quickly as possible. fred, we know that even as they're talking about a cease-fi cease-fire and the israeli cabinet is meeting right here in jerusalem, israel is moving its military into a position for a possible, repeat possible, ground war. and you saw evidence of that firsthand. tell our viewers in the united states and around the world what you saw. >> referee: yeah, absolutely. we were in the area around gaza. we traveled very, very far along the border with gaza. and you could see military equipment being moved in basically from all directions. there's a lot of trucks down there moving towards the gaza/israeli border.
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they have tanks on the backs, armored personnel on the backs as well as armored bulldozers. when you get inside the military zone, you see collection points. the way the israelis are doing it right now, they don't have one big place where they collect their troops. but it's smaller, little places where the troops are being gathered. those are hard tore hit by rockets from gaza as well. so we've seen a lot of soldiers come in, seen a lot of armor comes in. that seems to be continuing. from what we're seeing, there is a lot of hardware in place. certainly what we're hearing from the israeli government, as you said s that they haven't decided whether or not a ground offensive is going to be happening. but they say it is a very real possibility. they are willing and capable of doing that if they don't achieve their objective of stopping the rockets from gaza. from what we've seen today, they seem to be pretty serious about it. and it is certainly something that would be a real possibility, the capabilities are certainly there, wolf. >> the israelis making it clear
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they're keeping that option open. in the next hour, i'll be speaking with a spokesman for the prime minister, benjamin netanyahu. we'll talk about what's going on. fred pleitgen, thanks very much. a dramatic new show of support for hamas from an historic new government in egypt. we're going to tell you why and what that could mean for this conflict. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time,
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it was the best day in months for the markets. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what do you have? >> certainly was a good day for the markets. the dow jones up more than 200 points today, or 1.7%. the s&p and nasdaq both rising
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about 2%. investors are optimistic that washington may reach a deal on the fiscal cliff. however, experts are warning that trading will still be a little choppy until there is a final deal. also boosting markets today, two better-than-expected housing reports. a sign of improvement for the battered housing market. existing home sales climbing 2% in october and up 11% since a year ago, according to the national association of realtors. home sales are up nationwide, despite the devastation of superstorm sandy and record low mortgage rates are a key reason why people are buying right now. and the shutdown of hostess brands, put on hold, at least for now. a lot of people were wondering, they've agreed with a key union to try to mediate their dispute. a bankruptcy judge says he wants the two parties to try to come together to an agreement one more time. hostess' ceo says he needs a final decision tomorrow. more than 18,000 workers that could potentially lose their
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jobs if hostess shuts down. i don't know about you, but i know a lot of people would also be sad if the twinkie -- >> absolutely. >> -- is no more. it's an icon. >> who knew a junk food pastry could create so much drama. >> 18,000 jobs also on the line. that's also something to keep in mind. we hope they're able to work it out. certainly you don't want people losing jobs right around the holiday season. >> that's for sure. thanks, lisa. it's a huge stumbling-block in the quest for middle east piece. will hamas ever accept the existence of israel. wolf will talk about that and more next with a special mideast envoy, former british prime minister, tony blair. for about $30 regenerist micro-sculpting cream hydrates better than over 20 of america's most expensive luxury creams. fantastic. phenomenal. regenerist.
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trying to be brokered. the israeli cabinet is meeting right now to consider one egyptian proposal. we'll update you as soon as we get new information. we also got an update on all the efforts just a little while ago from the international middle east peace enjoy, the former british prime minister, tony blair. what are the chances of a cease-fire? >> i hope we can get one. people are working very hard for it. the egyptians, the u.n. secretary general, ourselves, everybody is doing their best. if you don't deescalate this and get a cease-fire and be able to sort out the longer-term issues, you'll have an escalation. that could be extremely serious, result in more innocent israelis, innocent palestinian citizens dieing. >> who brokers those kinds of deals? israel doesn't talk to hamas. who brokers a deal like that? >> egypt is very important. but so is the united nations.
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we all play our part in it. but it's not that it's a great problem of communication. everybody knows what has to happen. and the single thing that would make the biggest difference is if there was an agreement that everyone pursues their political objectives by peaceful means. now, right now, you've got a situation where as the rockets come out of gaza, so israel retaliates, that puts innocent israelis at risk. it means that innocent palestinians are at risk and as we've seen in the last 24 hours, die. this is a terrible situation. the human tragedy of it, on both sides, is colossal. and, frankly, unacceptable. so i think the important thing right now is just to get the cease-fire in place and deescalate. but you've then got to deal with these two questions. if you carry on stockpiling and rearming and there are other players from outside iran, notably that is providing those types of weapons for people inside gaza, you're not going to get peace.
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if gaza carries on or we don't try and lift some of the -- what's called the blockade, you get more stuff going into gaza, you get some sense of normality back in people's lives, people get a stake in the future. >> you've spoken to u.s. officials, i assume at very high levels. i assume you've spoken to prime minister netanyahu and the foreign minister. you've just come from a meeting with the palestinian leadership. what did you meet with? >> prime minister abbas and fayed. >> what do they want? there's been a rivalry. >> their desire is to have the thing deescalate and stop. but, again, longer term, we're going to have the work out how we bring about unity in palestinian politics on terms that mean there's genuine agreement. and the only way you're ever going to get peace and the
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two-state solution we all talk about is if there's a united palestinian politics in support of the objective of the palestinian state by negotiation. now, that's, as we speak right now, you have division, disunity and you've got no credible political negotiation. so i think the other thing that has to happen with the reelection of president obama, we have a chance of doing this, we have to put back in place a credible political negotiation. and then start to make changes on the ground that support the politics and don't operate against it. >> what about you? you represent what's called the quartet. do you meet with hamas? >> we don't meet with hamas ourselves because of the quartet principles. i have a team of people down in gaza. >> who report to you? >> yeah. >> and they're allowed to meet with hamas officials? >> they don't meet with hamas officials -- >> because, what, the u.s. regards hamas as a terrorist organization? >> there are things called the quartet principles which basically mean if hamas wanted to engage in a political
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process, then they've got to at least say, we're giving up the violence and if we participate in the two-state solution, you have to accept one of the states is going to be the state of israel. so we don't. i've worked primarily on the economic and security issues, on the west bank and then with gaza, trying to get a lifting of some of the measures. by the way, some of them have been over the past couple of years. but on the politics, the absence of a political negotiation impedes everything. >> there's been some speculation, some talk is -- i've suggested this myself. i know john mccain did over the week, the senator. that bill clinton, the former u.s. president, be named a special middle east u.s. enjoy. george mitchell had that until about a year and a half ago. what do you think of that idea? >> there's no bigger fan of bill clinton than me. he's got a huge experience in the middle east. but all these decisions have to be taken by the president and the new secretary of state. but whatever you do by way of
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people coming into the situation, whether it's bill clinton, me, george mitchell, whoever it is, the essential thing is you have to have a strategy to move this situation forward. and i think the basic three principles offered are, one, a credible political negotiation, which has some shape or framework to it. so we're negotiating the basic outlines of that negotiation. secondly, there are changes on the ground, both in the economy and development that support the negotiation, don't operate against it. and thirdly, there's got to be some way of reconciling palestinian politics on the right type of basis so that you're dealing with a united partner on the palestinian side as well as the israeli side. now, frankly, whoever of us come into this situation, if those three things aren't present, it's going to be very tough. >> would you see hamas accepting israel? >> i don't know.
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and, by the way, we always assume that an entity like hamas is homogenous with one view and not different factions. what i do know is that if they think about this in a serious way and genuinely -- if the bit of hamas that is palestinian nationalists, if you like, right, and rather than being motivated by some broader ideology actually wants the best for the palestinians, the only way you're ever going to get a palestinian state is through negotiation. you won't get it any other way. we're here in jerusalem now. you see the state of israel. it's not going to disappear. they're not going to pack up and go. you can wait one year, one decade, one century, several centuries. it's going to be here. and the palestinians aren't going anywhere either. so what seems to me to be sensible is that we agree, we pursue the political objectives peacefully.
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and that would hugely liberate the united states and the international community to help because whilst you have events like gaza happening, they just put a great shroud over any political advance. so it's really not complicated what needs to happen to get the politics moving again. but this is a region in upheaval and this is another part of the upheaval. >> where does iran fit into this current crisis? >> iran is there in the background of everything. look, as i always say to people -- and it's a somewhat controversial thing to say. but it's true. i'm not suggesting we do this. but the truth is, if there were change in iran, i would become 100% more optimistic about the region. the fact is, it's not just the issue to do with this ak in addition of nuclear weapons capability, it's the instability they push around the region the whole time, including in gaza. some parts in some of the groups in gaza are absolute proxies for
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iranian power and they push these missiles into gaza which then cause the type of issue we've got today. so i think -- well, let us hope that in the end, it changes. the thing about this region is the whole of it is undergoing a huge process of change in which, to put it very rudely but i think reasonably accurate, you have the forces of modernization and open-mindness here and the forces of closed-mindedness there. >> i know you're doing your best. good luck, prime minister. >> i'll need it. thank you. sirens have been going off throughout the day here in israel warning of incoming rockets and missiles from gaza. and we were caught up in it at one point earlier in the day. we were ordered to seek shelter. take a look at this. ? in the sirens ] [ sirens ]
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[ indiscriminate talking ] >> i'm going to tell you exactly what happened. by the way, we're beginning to hear sirens going off in jerusalem right now. i don't know if you can hear them behind me. but we're hearing sirens, first time we're hearing sirens right now in jerusalem. we'll have a lot more on the breaking news coming out of israel right after this. obligations, but obligations.
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first of all, false alarm. no sirens going off in jerusalem right now. what we heard were not sirens. want to make it clear. sirens have not, repeat not, gone off in jerusalem. they had a few days ago, but not right now. earlier in the day, we did hear the sirens going off in ashkelon where we were. we'll bring you that report at the top of the hour. hamas is stepping up its fight against israel with sophisticated new military power that's beginning to show a pipeline that's moving along from sinai into gaza. and some of it associated, we suspect, from iran.
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brian todd has been taking a look at this part of the story. brian, what are you seeing? >> reporter: this is an extensive network of support coming from iran that has emboldened hamas and led directly to this conflict getting ratcheted up. part of that network is a new missile system hamas has "a" at its disposal that's terrorized israel in recent days. its name means dawn in arabic and it's considered a game-changer for hamas. the new missile with a much greater range with anything hamas has had before, capable of striking tel aviv and jerusalem from gaza. it's now a menace to the israeli population and a major why this conflict has accelerated. how did hamas get this sophisticated system? an israeli official sells cnn the missile is from iran. matthew levet is an expert. >> the weapons in some cases are delivered whole. but in more cases, especially
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for the largers ones r delivered in parts. >> reporter: officials and analysts say this is part of an extensive pipeline of support from iran to hamas that has only grown in recent years. part of iran's shadow war against israel, the u.s. and their allies. u.s., israeli and egyptian officials have long suspected the pipeline works this way. missiles and other weapons are flown from iran to sudan, driven through eastern sudan, across the egyptian border and to the sinai peninsula. an israeli official told me some missiles are disassembled, brought through tunnels from sinai into gaza, then reassembled inside gaza by hamas. egypt's government has at certain times tried to disrupt the pipeline. but levet says now -- >> these weapon systems are being moved by criminal families. they're good at what they do. to take them on is something that the central government in egypt, the morsi government, does not want to do and may not even be all that capable of
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doing right now. >> reporter: we were not able to get egyptian officials to respond to that. but in recent months, the egyptian military has acknowledged that extremist groups and weapons are proliferating in sinai. the israeli official we spoke with says hamas is also getting grad missiles, other munitions from iran, as well as communications, command and control systems, and the official says hamas fighters and commanders have for several years received training inside iran, from the feared revolutionary guard. we couldn't get response from an iranian official at the united nations to that today. but in recent weeks, when we reported on the overall pipeline from iran to hamas that, official called the allegations baseless and unfounded. wolf? >> brian, you're getting some other information as well about just how sophisticated this hamas missile system has become. what are you learning. >> just a short time ago, an expert with a weapons publication told me their
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research indicates the knew rockets are being launched from underground sites. he says they have the capability of popping up out of the ground, launching one or two missiles at a time at israel. israeli forces can target launch sites once they've been fired. but beforehand, much more difficult to find them. >> brian todd reporting for us. thank you. new signs the historic arab spring may have empowered hamas. up next, the dramatic role and it's a new one, that egypt is now playing in this conflict. ...you see they all have something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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the u.s. secretary general is in egypt right now pressing for talks to end the middle east fighting and expected here in
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israel tomorrow. egypt is playing a critically important role, very different role this time around in the conflict following a dramatic shift in its relationship with hamas. here's cnn's nic robertson. >> reporter: with the situation has changed hugely since 2008, 2009 conflict and perhaps the biggest place it's changed is in egypt and if you lock at this map you begin to see why some of the details. zooming in to the border here between egypt and gaza and in to the rafah crossing. perhaps symbolizing the way that egyptians in 2008, 2009 did not support hamas in gaza. look what happened back then. this border was key for hamas in gaza to bring in humanmanitaria sup supplies. so, this time, it will be different because the political leadership, thanks to the arab spring, has now changed in cairo.
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it's essentially a muslim brotherhood government. hamas is a militant offshoot of the muslim brotherhood and when the prime minister of egypt went to gaza late last week, he said that this situation was terrible. that it must stop and when you listen to the political leader of hamas speaking in cairo today, noting that he was speaking at a time when palestinian broadcast earls in gaza struck by israeli missiles, the very fact that he was speaking would never have happened under the previous egyptian leader hosni mubarak. now he makes clear note that egypt's position changed and israel needs to learn from that. >> translator: netanyahu wanted to test the new egypt. the great egypt. an egypt of the may 25th revolution, the leadership of egypt, the sons and daughters of egypt, the answer he got was not
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what he had expected. he wanted to test the countries of the arab spring and the arabs in the spring but the arabs did not fail us. rather, failed him. >> so when's clear is that hamas is calculus now is different. that they believe that they can expect more regional support, specifically from egypt, can perhaps negotiate during these talks around a cease fire better terms with israel so that it is the difference. that just wouldn't have happened back in 2008, 2009. nic robertson, cnn, london. we're going to take you to that border crossing coming up in "the situation room." also ahead, oonds cooper standing by live joining us from gaza city. there's a lot going on in the middle east right now. mp out. you know we've been open all night. is this a trick to get my spot? [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. save on ground shipping at fedex office.
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a string of murders in new york city all tied to the same weapon. the victims sharing many of the same characteristics. now, police are trying to determine whether it's coincidence or something much more sinister. our mary snow is joining us with the details. pa ri? >> well, joe, police are stopping short of calling this a serial killer but not ruling it out and gone to the fbi with help of a profiler to track a murderer who committed three murders within miles of each other. is the murder of another brooklyn store owner the work of a serial killer? that's because ballistic tests showed the same .22-caliber gun used in the murder of three store owners. first victim, 65 years old killed in july. in august, another shop owner gunned down inside the store.
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here at the scene the police found the body inside the store friday night. they say he was shot three times in the head and torso. in this case, as in the two others, law enforcement sources say each body was covered with clothes or merchandise. police are not ruling out a potential hate crime. two of the victims they described as jewish. one was egyptian. also possible link in police commissioner says none of the three stores had surveillance cameras. >> here you have three stores where the proprietor is there by himself, no cameras in any of these stores. so you would have to speculate that some sort of reconnaissance was going on, i would say, before the murder took place. >> reporter: at least one store owner plans to add surveillance cameras. >> if you work here, you will be scared. not just egyptian but working in
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this area. you're going to be scared. >> reporter: investigators are scouring surveillance tape from the street where the latest killing happened. they're looking to question this man to find out what he might have seen. but one cnn legal contributor working oz a prosecutor on the son of sam case says police tend to be very careful about calling homicides the work of a serial killer. >> usually serial killers involved in far more homicides than that so i think it's premature to label it but it's certainly shaping up to be something very, very dangerously close to a serial killing. >> and joe, one other connection that's been talked about. the addresses of all of the victims contain the number 8 but police are down playing any connection. joe? >> mary snow, thank you for that. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, we should know in a matter of days, maybe in a matter of hours if israel's air
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assault on gaza leads to a deadlier ground invasion. we are live in the region. we are covering the attacks on both sides of the border. also, i have experienced firsthand the threat of rocket attacks on israel and the race to take cover. will appeals lead to an actual cease fire? >> i'll speak with a spokesman. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." across southern israel and gaza right now, you can smell the smoke. see the damage and feel the fear. palestinian officials now say more than 100 people killed in gaza after nearly a week of air
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attacks by israel. israel says hamas militants can stop the suffering in a second if they stop shooting hundreds of rockets across the border. those rockets have killed three israelis since the conflict began. the u.n. secretary general has arrived in egypt as part of an urgent international push for a cease fire. israeli troops and tanks on the border awaiting the order that could come at any time to invade gaza and turn this to in to a full-scale war. my colleagues and i are in the region. we are covering all sides of this conflict as only cnn can. earlier today i traveled to southern israel, tt's near israel's border with gaza where people live every day with a threat of rocket attacks and we experience what they go through firsthand. within minutes of arriving in the city, the sirens went off. meaning hamas rockets or missiles were in the air and on the way.
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>> come on, come on. >> reporter: they take the warnings very seriously. they know that may have only 30 seconds before a rocket over a missile reaches the area. we are just running inside. sirens have just gone off. we get in to the small secure room. israeli soldiers and civilians are already crammed inside. they clearly have a very worried look. that's because earlier in the day, precisely at this very high school a rocket landed. the damage is very visible. fortunately, no one was injured. you can see it came through the concrete and landed at the school, a school here in ashkelon and the rocket damage down here. no one was injured by the other rocket that caused us to scramble to the shelter. israel's iron dome anti-missile system destroyed the rocket on the way to ashkelon. you could see the lingering plumes of smoke in the sky. >> missile targeted this school. this is the third time.
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>> reporter: benny is the mayor and living this nightmare for a listening time. >> maybe wounded people and especially children so -- when were traumatic, psychologically they're scared? >> of course. >> reporter: schools in the city closed since the latest exchange with hamas escalated in recent days. he said he's most worried about the children who have been traumatized by the explosions. this shelter designed for the children, many of whom sleep here. we drive over to a residential area of ashkelon where a rocket had landed the day before. we are here in a quiet residential neighborhood in ashkelon. you can see a rocket hit the area over here. if you go over there, you can see the damage over that garage area. the rocket apparently came right in there. but then fortunately everyone in this neighborhood had gone in to their shelters, their closed
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rooms and but you could see some of the shrapnel reaching across the street over here to this house over here. this is one of the safe rooms in this house but there's no damage inside. the owner of this home was at work in his office but his wife was inside the house. he said she ran in to the secure safe room and is okay. ashkelon is eerie right now. the cafes and shops akrong the mediterranean beach are mainly empty. he was not optimistic about the immediate future. we are here along the beach in ashkelon. lovely day. the begsun is just beginning to down right now and watching when's going on. it is empty. this area pretty much december late. the israelis staying inside their homes. not going out to coffee shops, not going to theaters. at least in this area. at least for the last few days because of the pounding, the rockets that have been coming in. that iron dome, that thud you
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hear all the time over the sky and you realize not far away, a few kilometers of here is gaza. densely populated area. right along this same mediterranean. you know, my own sense is this could be a -- such a wonderful area if they could just achieve some real peace between the israelis and the palestinians but obviously that has to wait at least for now. but for now, there's a very deep silence on the beach. unlike what we heard earlier in the day. joined now by anderson cooper joining us from gaza city. i understand you heard some loud explosions moments ago, as well. what happened? >> yeah. in the last five or ten minutes or so, there were two very large explosions very close to here. the impact, actually, you can feel it in this building here. windows shaking. it is very close. the latest strike to the media center which was hit earlier in
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the day, israeli forces saying targets members of islamic jihad. one member, an official there killed according to israel and palestinian sources here. a man not affiliated with the group or said not to be was killed in that. ben wedeman was on the scene and first responders there and to see the wreckage. seemed like the strike targeted to the second floor of the building. >> the second floor, anderson. there was a sign of a lawyer's office. obviously, we don't know if that was the case but our understanding is they didn't have an office. they were just sort of using that space because the building was by and large evacuated at the time. >> you also spent time today at the funeral of family that was killed yesterday in very controversial strike. >> yes. this is a strike that took place just north of here in the suburb of gaza city on the delu family house. the israelis are saying that it
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was -- there was a member of the hamas rocket team who was there. but there's no sign that that was the case. but, you know, these funerals here are very bombastic. very loud. very full of sort of political rhetoric. but behind them there are really the tragedy that is are happening every day here. >> let's take a look. >> reporter: the body of 5-year-old yusef is held aloft as calls ring out for revenge. in life, he was a child known only to his family and friends. in death, yet another potent symbol for the cameras and the angry crowds. he and eight other members of the family were killed sunday afternoon in an israeli air strike on their home. israeli officials say they were targeting a hamas military official. though no hamas official is known to be among the dead.
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under the banners of a hamas to the cemetery. when the crowd leaves and the chanting stops, the real mourning begins. friends and relatives quietly pray for the dead. quiet tears are shed for the latest to die so suddenly without warning. his brother was killed in another israeli attack sunday. like so many here, he's weary of war and sees only more coming. there will be an escalation, he says. israel won't accept our conditions. it wants blood for blood. he and his team of grave diggers prepared 15 graves. their busiest morning yet and preparing for more. what's left, he asks me? no one is safe anymore in their homes. the main cemetery for gaza city is out of town near the israeli border and, therefore, too dangerous to hold funerals at. now, they're bringing the dead
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here to the cemetery but this cemetery has no more room for new graves. back at where the home once stood, mourners greet an egyptian delegation led by the head of the freedom and justice party, the political wing of the muslim brotherhood. a member of his delegation loudly vows vengeance against israel for the deaths of gaza's children. children caught in a struggle they were too young to comprehend. but not too young to die in. >> obviously, seeing a lot of funerals here on this side of the border. you've been covering this region for a very long time and fascinating. depending on what side of the border you were on, really dictating how you see this conflict and who's to blame for it and each side convinced they're correct. >> yes. it's very much sort of a he
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said, she said. each side blaming the other. and, you know, when you cover these stories, you can't help but sympathize with both sides, really. i mean, put aside the politic n politicians, the men in suits. you run in to ordinary people every day when you cover these stories who have problems like you but have suddenly been dropped in to this hellish situation. here in gaza, being bombarded the whole time. in israel under a rocket fire. i mean, you have to really to cover it properly you have to sort of see the humanity in both sides. >> and it really is a very human story on both sides of the border and regular life on both sides of the border ground to a halt. israel they have air raid warning signs and get cover. you don't see people on the streets. most people are indoors. >> here it's much more difficult. gaza is much poorer. even in the best of times life is much more difficult here than it is in israel.
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israel is in a sense a first world country in terms of living standards. here in gaza, about 75% to 80% of the population are refugees and they have moved out many of them have moved out of the refugee camps but you still have this situation where they look over the border and they remember the homes they lost and that might explain why there's so much passion here about this conflict. >> it's also such a densely populated area and the gaza city densely pop latted and rockets fired sometimes from residential areas, close to people's homes. >> that's something that's changed somewhat since four years ago. the technology has changed so that they can fire remotely rockets from inside gaza city. and a lot of the vacant lots that you find between some of the buildings have underneath the sand there are mobile -- not mobile but automatic remotely controlled rocket launchers so
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that means that any vacant lot down there could be a target. >> and as you've been reporting, the technology for some of these rockets improved allowing them to reach tel aviv and jerusalem. our coverage will be continuing all evening long. now back to wolf in jerusalem. wolf? >> quick question, anderson. how often are you hearing explosions right now? i assume you're hearing those israeli, you know, the drones flying over. you hear that buzzing sound. but what about actual explosions? >> yeah. the drones are constant as you know and have been since obviously the conflict began. day and night you hear the sound of the drones. wolf question is how often are we hearing explosions? tonight we have been hearing -- it's pretty routine and constant. regular. not as much as in past nights. >> tonight's the quietest night
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yet but it's young yet. >> they're 2:00 a.m. hour you start to hear more explosions. we'll see what happens this evening. >> fingers crossed. >> wolf? >> all right. we'll keep your fingers crossed here, as well. thank you. we'll check back with you. anger boiling over at the border crossing of gaza to egypt. stand by that. also going to tell you how president obama's trying to tamp down these middle east tensions, even as he visits another part of the world. we use this board to compare car insurance rates side by side so you get the same coverage, often for less. that's one smart board. what else does it do, reverse gravity? [ laughs ] [ laughs ] [ whooshing ] tell me about it.
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i love the fact that quicken loans provides va loans. quicken loans understood the details and guided me through every step of the process. i know wherever the military sends me, i can depend on quicken loans. israeli officials tell me they're prepared for a ground invasion of gaza if necessary. we have new information coming in right now from our own barbara starr, as well. she was over at a briefing at the israeli embassy in washington. barbara, what are you learning? >> wolf, i'm outside the israeli embassy. we just finished a closed door briefing. ambassador warren says israel is
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ready to go, that the planning has been completed. everything is in place for a ground invasion in to gaza if it comes to that. but boor orren says israel would like to avoid the need for that. they're hoping for a solution of this, an understanding, an agreement with hamas to stop firing those rockets, wolf. >> what about the overall situation, as far as u.s. troops, u.s. troops are concerned? there was a massive u.s.-easy rail he military exercise here in israel a few weeks ago and now learning some of those troops still are here? what's going on, barbara? >> israeli say, in fact, wolf, a small number u.s. troops still in israel hangers on if you will from that exercise. but they had to move them. they were at a base in southern israel and that put them in
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range of those rockets from gaza. so the israelis have now moved them to a base in a more central area of israel covered by israeli air defenses. they feel they'll be much more safe there until they can get them out and send them home, wolf. >> barbara starr in washington for us, thank you. israel's firing back for hamas rocket attacks but the country faces another kind of threat, as well. cyber warfare. an unprecedented number of attacks. stand by for details. ♪
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president obama's reaching out to top leaders here in the at least even as he makes a
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historic trip to asia. joe johns is back in washington with the day's top stories. joe? >> barack obama became the first sitting u.s. president to visit myanmar. he met with the country's president. it was notorious for political repression and traveled to cambodia. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin reports in the trip the president has been staying in touch with mideast officials. >> reporter: he placed a call to prime minister netanyahu to get an update about the conflict between israel and gaza. we're told in that call the two men committed to staying in touch on the issue, the president expressed his condolences for loss of life on both sides of that conflict. president also we're told spoke to egypt's president morsi and in that phone call discussed the importance of getting hamas to stop firing rockets in to
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israel. the president has publicly said he believes this is crucial to creating the stability needed for a peace to take hold. now, the president is traveling in asia with his top national security adviser and secretary of state clinton who are regularly in touch with their counterparts in the region and consistently updating the president. >> cnn's jessica yellin reporting from cambodia. we have a new snapshot of american's views of the conflict in the middle east right now. 59% say their sympathies more with the israelis according to our new cnn/orc poll. 13% say they're more sympathetic to the palestinians. is 11% don't sympathize with either side. 57% of those surveyed say israeli military action in gaza is justified. 25% say it's not justified. the united states government wants a military appeals court to deny the accused ft. hood
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shooter's request to keep his bear. major nadal hassan says he had the right but the government questions if he grew the beard to make it more difficult for witnesses to recognize him. the army psychiatrist charged with 13 counts of murder tied to the 2009 shootling spree at ft. hood in texas. now going back to wolf blitzer when's giving us a special report here in "the situation room" from jerusalem. wolf? >> joe, thanks very much. stand by for more of our coverage here in the region, from israel, from gaza, anderson cooper in gaza and back with his impressions and seeing the air strikes up close and also speaking with the top israeli spokesman for the prime minister benjamin netanyahu and ask if there's a time line for a ground invasion of gaza. and retirement specialists can help you build a personalized plan and execute it with a wide range of low cost investments. get a great plan and low cost investments
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we're coming to you live from jerusalem. i'm talking to israeli officials here and not clear how much longer they'll hold back from launching a ground invasion of gaza if attempts a the a cease fire don't pan out. israeli cabinet has been meeting urgently to consider an egyptian proposal. israeli troops are poised at the border right now, big numbers. the leader of hamas which controls gaza says his fighters are not afraid of a ground war. israel's been hammering away at gaza from the air for six days saying it's going after terrorist targets. retaliation for hundreds of rockets fired at israel by hamas and other militant groups in gaza. let's go back to oonz cooper right now in gaza. i sake it, anderson, more explosions. another one you just heard? >> yeah. probably about two minutes ago. actually pretty close to the location we're at right now. off in that direction. another large explosion. three pretty significant explosions just in the last half
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hour or so. the other two were over in that direction close to the media center which was hit earlier in their day and that's the second time that media center as you know got hit. officials saying they hit and killed an official from islamic jihad who was staying in an office inside that media center where as the attack yesterday they said was to hit hamas antenna but they said the strike killed one islamic jihad official today and another person working the building, wolf. >> when you talk to folks on the street there, what's the first thing they say to you, anderson, when they know you're an american journalist visiting gaza? >> there's obviously a lot of anger directed to israel, frustration, resentment. and, you know, people are weary and tired and six days, going on seven days, basically hiding in their homes. shops closed.
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unable to go outside or only going outside to get basic necessities and then try to basically go back in and seek shelter inside of buildings. and there's a lot of anger resentment and grown over the last several days as people have experienced, you know, more deaths, seen other people wounded, as well. more than 100 people killed here so far. more than 00 wounded thusz far and the numbers continue to grow with each day, wolf. >> here in israel you have a debate. there's a healthy debate going on, most of the israelis at least the ones i have spoken to seem to support the israeli government and a vocal minority quite critical. you read some articles in the israeli press. do you get any criticism of hamas at all? do you get a sense some people are saying hamas shouldn't be launching the missiles and rockets in to israel? >> you don't -- i don't think you hear such a vocal debate as you do in israel.
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privately some people will express opinions and concerns to you but it's not something you hear people vocally expressing and very different political situation here on the ground obviously in gaza city and throughout gaza. but, you know, as you know, the west bank area controlled by different group of palestinians. fatah and obviously there's been a difference of opinion between those two groups but there is a lot of support. i mean, for hamas, hamas elected here by the people here. and especially under fire, there's been a lot of support and real questions remain about if there is a cease fire, moving forward, whether hamas is actually improved its situation politically over the other palestinian group fatah. we'll have to wait and see how that plays out in the days ahead. >> yeah. i suppose if there is a cease fire, that will dramatically increase hamas's stature among
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palestinians and other arabs, i would venture to say. i have no doubt about that. thanks very much. any moment it seems the conflict between the israelis and hamas could tip one way or another toward a cease-fire or a major ground war. joining us now, the spokesman for the prime minister of israel benjamin netanyahu. mark, thank you for coming in. >> my pleasure, sir. >> how close are you to a cease-fire? >> i don't know. i hope close but i can't say for certain. if it's possible to solve it through diplomatic means, we are happy to and prepared if need be to upscale, upgrade the military option. >> what does that mean to? >> if we have to. to protect our people from gaza, we're willing to send ground forces in to gaza. >> there's a lot of reports now that the israeli cabinet even as we speak right now is meeting, the prime minister convened the international security cabinet
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to consider a proposed cease-fire that's come from egypt. is that true? >> i can only say the following. they're looking both at the military operation and the options there and hearing about the diplomacy. within way or the other we want to achieve our goal sen that is peace and quiet for the civilian population of southern israel on the receiving end of those rockets from gaza much too long. >> is there a cease-fire proposal on the table? >> wolf, you have to understand and i understand that it's, you know, there's a conflict of interests between the spokesperson and the journalist but if diplomacy is going to be successful it has to be done with discretion and i can't go in to the details. >> has the prime minister spoken once again with president obama? >> we have had two phone conversations between the president and the prime minister. >> today, including today? >> no. there was one day before. >> we were told that he called -- the president called prime minister netanyahu from his visit to asia. >> i know there are ongoing
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contacts with the united states. americans are playing a very important part here in trying to get a cease-fire. we hope it's possible. >> is egypt playing a positive role? >> egypt has a role to play. if egypt comes to the table here i think they can be instrumental in helping to get an agreement. >> has israel spent a special convoy to egypt? >> once again, i'm not going to go in to the details of the negotiations. in to the details of the diplomacy. only to say for us, the most important thing is the end result. that is, that the people of southern israel can live normal lives without fear of an incoming rocket fired from gaza. that can be done through diplomacy or military action. i hope through diplomacy. >> on friday, cnn was told and he said i would say if we will see in the next 24, 26 hours more rockets launched at us i think that will be a trigger.
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it's been more than 48 hours. since then, when's going on? >> we are showing restraint. we are giving diplomacy a chance and clear we can't wait forever. the missiles are raining down on our people. a fundamental challenge is that no doubt that hamas would agree to an immediate cease-fire but not mean anything because we'd have rockets on israeli cities next week or week after. we want to know when this is over that it's really over. that the people of southern israel no longer have to live in constant fear. of those missiles coming from gaza. we want to come out of this with a sustained period of quiet for the people of southern israel. we hope it's possible. we believe it's possible. once again, it will be achieved through diplomacy or military action. i hope diplomacy can work. >> yesterday you launched -- the israeli air force an air strike against a building in gaza that killed ten civilians including children. you were going after some sort of hamas leader. is that what the target was?
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what happened? obviously, a major blunder occurred. >> we don't want to hit innocent civilians. civilian population of gaza is not our enemy. >> what happened in this incident? >> our enemy is people shooting the rockets. >> civilians were killed. >> i understand. we are looking at xhaktly what happened there. obviously it was a foul-up. we don't know exactly how or what happened. i can say the following and that's did difference of israel and hamas. when they shoot rockets in to israel and they kill a civilian, that's amazing victory and celebrate. when we conduct surgical operations against hamas, if an innocent civilian is caught up in the cross fire for it's a failure. we're trying to do everything we can to minimize, to limit, to be as surgical is as humanly possible in a complex combat situation. we don't want to harm civilians. they're doing everything they can shooting the rockets. >> that was an intelligence failure. >> i don't know exactly what happened.
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but every time an innocent civilian or bystander is caught up in the cross fire between us and hamas it's something that we consider a failure. i have -- >> you know there's innocent civilians this died in gaza. >> hamas is deliberately endangering the civilian population of gaza using those civilians as human shields. cnn reported. other networks. they have been shooting the rockets out of the middle of build-up neighborhoods. munitions, stockpiles, command and control in the middle of civilian neighborhoods. forcing us to fight there. this is a war crime. you know, it's illegal under international law to use civilians as human shield and hamas does it. we nevertheless try to be as surgical as we can. it's difficult. >> not once but twice targeted a building with international media in gaza. why? >> we've had a situation, unfortunately, where hamas has used buildings where media is using for their own command and control. we had a situation today where
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four terrorists of islamic jihad hiding out in a building with international media. in those situations, we are very careful. we do everything we can to make sure journalists are not harmed and we are surgical as is humanly possible and as far as i know no journalist was harmed. >> in that building. but are you going to continue going after that specific target? >> we'll go after hamas and the other terrorists. we have to stop them from shooting rockets at aur people. we'll always be as careful as we can to try to avoid harming bystanders. >> you want to give us the last question? 48 hours, 72 hours, when's the deadline? >> i hope that we can have a cease-fire and end this quietly. the people of southern israel no longer have to live in constant fear of an incoming rocket. we'll do it diplomatic or military means. >> thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure, sir. >> top officials of hamas say
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they don't want a ground war but the group's political leader is defiant. his side of the story, that's next. add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
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we're live in jerusalem covering israel's six-day air offense. the political leader of hamas vowing to keep fighting even if the israeli military launches a ground invasion. he spoke to journalists in cairo. >> translator: we don't want escalation nor do we call for a ground war. but we are not afraid of it nor
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will we back down. i am praying for every palestinian child who is being killed in the land of palestine. i am pained for the families who have lost their loved ones. for all of the victims. for all of those who have their homes destroyed. >> also in egypt, tensions are spilling over at the rafah border crossing with gaza. cnn's resa sayeh is there. >> reporter: we are at the rafah border crossing where egypt's border meets gaza. gaza is a very small piece of land. about twice the size of washington, d.c. it has four gateways, three of them are inside israel. they're pret much blocked off in an effort to choke off gaza. this is the only one leaving from gaza in to an arab ally. that's egypt.
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while the air assault continues in gaza, violence increases, when's increased here is the anger by egyptians who want egypt and the government to step up and intervene. >> the people have changed. we have changed and we are not going to take that for -- we are not going to wait for the government to move. we'll take things in our hand and going to lead the government in to certain position that is required for egypt. >> reporter: roughly 500 protesters here. they have made a seven-hour journey of cairo and lined up down the street. each of them are showing their identifications to security forces and then heading in to gaza. we have asked them, when do you think they you'll come back? we don't know. we're happy to be going in. are you scared? >> yeah. i mean, absolutely i'm scared. you hear bombs. you don't know what you're going in there for but i think that's -- i think that's what we have to do. you have to be scared and
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overcome that fear going in there. >> reporter: as more demonstrators file in to gaza back in cairo the arab league announced that on tuesday they're going to send in more than two dozen arab foreign ministers in to gaza part of the arab league's push to publicly stand with the palestinians. also, in cairo, egypt spy chief in talks with hamas officials and israeli officials to establish a cease-fire, the same spy chief in 2011 helped secure the release of israeli soldier, many say if there's going to be a cease-fire, egypt's spy chief will play a key role. cnn at the rafah border crossing. a massive cyber attack on israeli websites. we have details of possible ties to a notorious group of hackers. , sweetest craforelobste that we can find. [ malennounc ] it'ti focrabfestt red lobster! his ar, y 1 of 5ntrees like our ne crab d garlic shri.
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not only hamas targeting israel right now, the country also hit by a massive cyber attack linked to a notorious group of hackers. cnn's lisa sill vester is joining us with more. what can you tell us about the siper attacks on israel? >> wolf, people will talk about cyber warfare but now we are getting a look at just what part of that looks like. over the week, hackers targeted israeli government and some private websites like the bank of jerusalem, it was a large-scale attack and it had a familiar name that may be associated with it. israeli government, defense, finance, trade and tourism sites all among those targeted. israel's finance minister acknowledging it's facing cyber attacks on an unprecedented scale with over 44 million attempts to attack and disrupt
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government websites. in some cases, access was denied. in other cases, they altered the home page leaving a cases, hack home page. cnn has not independently confirmed who was behind the attempts, but the group anonymous hosted a pro palestinian message on one of its websites. quote, when the government of israel publicly threatened to server all internet communications into and out of gaza, they crossed a line in the sand. we are anonymous and no one shuts down the internet on our watch. anonymous is is not a stated political ally of hamas, but is using this as a form of civil disobedien disobedience, says one former hacker. >> they used a form of hackeris measuri m to create attention. >> but cybersecurity expert says these are more than just nuisance attacks. >> each attack is designed to
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figure out exactly what the landscape looks like, so from an anonymous hacker perspective, they're attacking millions of times a day, but every time they do, they learn something new about the net work or the landscape they're attacking. >> most of the sites were quickly restored, but some are still down and the volume of the attempted disruptions is stunning. according to israel's minister of finance, there were ten million attacks on the official website of the president. seven million attacks on the website of the ministry of foreign affairs and 3 million on the prime minister's official site, all in just the last few days. this is a wake-up call for many countries that cyber war is a thu front. millions of attacks can be carried out by a handful of people with far reaching consequences. >> if you can get at the computer network that affects this, then you really hitting
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the home front without having to put a person on the ground. >> anonymous also taken to social media, twitter and posted a message on a website saying it does not support violence, but is pursuing this as a human rights cause. meanwhile, israel's chief human rights officer says it has deflected millions of these attacks and says right now, they are facing a war on three fronts. physical, social media and cyber. wolf? >> lisa, thank you. cnn's intense focus on the israeli gaza crisis continues right at the top of the hour. erin burnett is "outfront." erin, you have some major interviews coming up. tell us more. >> that's right. we're going to continue here to talk about this crisis and what could happen next. we're going joined by the ambassador to the united states, michael orrin, then we're going to be joined by the palestinian ambassador to the united states to talk about that side. both of those sides covered at the top of the hour, plus we're going to be talking about
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benghazi. we have new reporting on who exact lly altered the talking points given to susan rice. talking points that were different than officials appeared to know at the time that it was a video to blame for the attack. all of that coming up at the top of the hour, wolf. back to you in israel. >> thanks very much, erin. see you in a few minutes. up next, giving you rare access inside israel's missile defense system known as the iron dome. let's say you want to get ahead in your career. how do you get from here... to here? at university of phoenix we're moving career planning forward so you
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barrel today to $89 a barrel. food prices are up since fighting rerupt ed. israeli defense officials say nearly 1,000 rockets have been aimed at israel over the past six days. about a third of them were intercepted by their iron dome defense systems. fred shows us how the system works. >> a kill that possibly saved lives on the ground. this video shows an iron dome missile intercepting a rocket fired from gaza at tel aviv on sunday. the defense system had just been installed at israel's largest city a few hours earlier. several days into the conflict, it's clear the iron dome is having a big impact picking off hundreds of rockets.
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i got a tour of the israel aircraft plant that assembles the air defense system. dr. israel is one of those in charge. one key element is an advanced radar. >> the radar searches, locates, tracks and intercepts and guides intercepting missiles within several seconds, few seconds, within the launching time. >> it's extremely hard to shoot down short distance rockets in part because they're not in the air long enough for older radar systems to lock on to them. >> moving extremely fast. when you want to intercept it, you have to move faster, with more agility, with more of a maneuvering power relative to your target. >> the iron dome was only put into service in 2011, with breakthroughs in technology, it can detect and shoot down multiple targets in midair. but it isn't a perfect solution.
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this is is aftermath of a rocket strike in the town. one of the rockets that hit actually came here and hit this car and as you can see, did substanti damage the car. as hits like this one show, it cannot intercept all the rockets coming at israel from gaza. still, the military says it's very happy with the performance of the intercepter system. >> rockets usually down, usually these rockets are the ones sent from the terrorist factions to much bigger cities where you have more people living. we usually down them, but it's not a 100% solution unfortunately. >> and so, the engineers at the plant are working extra hours to assemble more iron dome batteries for immediate deployment. >> and as fred points out, a lot of that iron dome technology

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